Southern Rock Opera

SXSW 02 Music Fest Wrap-up

South by South Austin

South Congress Avenue, Saturday 16 For many people, the daytime events up and down South Congress on the Saturday during SXSW is as good as it gets. With the traffic jams, people watching, classic car show, free beer, lots of food, and of course, an incredible array of free music, the party is hitting on all cylinders. It may have been before noon at the Texicalli Grille, but Austin's country princess Karen Poston and Virginia-based guitar king Bill Kirchen kicked things off with a heavy dose of twang and serious rock & roll. Behind the Yard Dog Folk Art Gallery, Caitlin Cary offered up a too-brief set of her impressive country rock. Then across the street, on the patio behind the still-being-built Texas Cafe, Susanna Van Tassel showed off a voice that was made to sing country and a primo backing band led by local guitar ace Jim Stringer. Back at Yard Dog, Waco Brother/ Mekon Jon Langford bared his rock side, backed by Toronto's Sadies. One of the more impressive sets of the weekend by songwriter Chuck Prophet and his band followed them, as Prophet performed some groove-heavy new songs. Meanwhile, in the parking lot down the block at Jo's Coffee, local songbird Alice Spencer led her new band, Victrola, through some old-time swing that's performed with a touch of class. North Carolina's Thad Cockrell rendered some stripped-down country songs next, his tenor a near-perfect match for his traditional sound. The afternoon was nearly over when Wayne Hancock made his only appearance of the weekend back at the Texas Cafe. Hancock had uncomplimentary things to say about SXSW (surprise), but managed to lay down some of his crowd-pleasing hillbilly boogie anyway. Throughout it all, crazy man Mojo Nixon was holdng court at the Continental Club with folks like Jon Dee Graham, Beaver Nelson, and Dash (Rip Rock). That's only a partial list of what went down on South Congress Avenue this SXSW Saturday, and it's too bad said strip can't rock like that every weekend.

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Poston, Karen, Kirchen, Bill, Cary, Caitlin, Van Tassel, Susanna, Langford, Jon, Sadies, Prophet, Chuck, Victrola, Cockrell, Thad, Hancock, Wayne, Nixon, Mojo, Graham, Jon Dee, Nelson, Beaver, Dash

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